Best ways to get to cities in the US and Canada using miles

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Airport Suitcase Luggage BaggageIf you want to travel within the US and Canada using airline miles, your first thought might be to use miles from one of the major North American airlines. In some cases, that will indeed be your best bet. However, there are numerous opportunities to leverage foreign airline frequent flyer program sweet spots to book awards within the US and Canada for far fewer miles. This post covers the best options for using miles. Since the US carriers just don’t release much premium cabin space domestically, this post will generally focus on economy class travel and indicate when business class pricing is also notable.

What’s new? This guide has been completely updated for 2024 with award chart and policy changes, and we have both added the ability to book American, Alaska, and JetBlue flights with Qatar Avios while subtracting options that are no longer available.

We have previously covered the best ways to get to around the world in premium cabins using miles from transferable currencies. For the purposes of this post, “North America” either refers to domestic flights within the US or those between the US and Canada where indicated. Awards to Mexico/Caribbean/Latin America are often not included in most award chart definitions of “North America”.

For other posts in this series, see:

Transferable Currencies

If you want to use airline miles, it’s great to have transferable points.  Transferable point programs let you transfer your points to any of a number of airline programs.  This is great because it gives you the freedom to book many different flights through many different methods, some of which are strikingly cheaper than others.  If you’re not familiar with transferable points programs, please check out our guides:

Amex Membership Rewards Complete Guide Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide
Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide Bilt Rewards

Best ways to North American destinations using miles

For many years, the best programs for domestic travel weren’t domestic airline programs. Instead, the best programs for booking flights on US-based carriers were often foreign airline programs that partner with major US carriers. That was because of a combination of factors: in some cases, foreign programs had more favorable award charts and in others it was because of more flexible bookings / lower change and cancellation fees.

However, with the major US programs all having variable pricing (which can sometimes offer a price advantage over other programs) and those US programs offering some way to avoid change or cancellation fees in most instances, the advantages of booking via foreign programs have thinned. Still, opportunities for good value from foreign partner programs exist.

The deals below are sorted alphabetically by carrier. Remember that the lowest price isn’t the entire picture: be sure to consider which airlines levy surcharges, change or cancellation fees, and the ease of amassing the miles for your chosen award, including through point transfer bonuses. See each description for where to search, how to book, and which partners you can use to transfer. It is always best to confirm availability before transferring miles to be sure that the award you seek can be booked with the miles you intend.

For Alaska Airlines flights

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

  • The short story: Alaska offers variable award pricing both for American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights, which can sometimes make Alaska the best deal for booking these awards.
  • Miles required: For Alaska flights, the shortest-distance awards cost 5K each way in economy or 15K each way in business class. For American Airlines flights, the shortest-distance awards start at 4.5K in economy or 9K in business. See full award charts here.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at AlaskaAir.com.
  • How to book awards: Book online at AlaskaAir.com.
  • Key warnings: Keep in mind that transfers from Marriott can take 7 days or more.
  • Change and cancellation fees: None for award tickets.
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Marriott

British Airways Executive Club (for American Airlines or Alaska Airlines)

  • The short story: British Airways offers a distance-based award chart, so short direct flights on partners American Airlines or Alaska Airlines can sometimes be a great value. Also note that British Airways allows cancellation up to 24 hours in advance for no fee but forfeiting the taxes ($5.60 each way within the US), though they've been known to refund those with some cancellations.
  • Miles required: Varies based on distance. From 9K one-way in economy class / 16.5K in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at britishairways.com. Note that British Airways inexplicably periodically stops displaying AA availability. It's always best to search before transferring.
  • How to book awards: Book online at britishaiways.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: Officially $55, but when the taxes and fees are less British Airways gives the option of forfeiting the taxes instead ($5.60 each way in the US), which makes awards almost freely cancellable (some sometimes they refund the taxes anyway).
  • Key warnings: British Airways charges for each segment separately, so multi-segment trips can get expensive quickly. Furthermore, the British Airways site sometimes shows phantom award space for AA (see: Phantom menace: an award search time suck). You may want to double-check Qantas.com for availability before transferring to British Aiways Executive Club.
  • Transfer fromAmex, BiltCapital One, ChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

Qatar Airways Avios (for Alaska Airlines)

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which can be a decent value for economy class or a standout value for first class in some instances.
  • Miles required: From 6K Avios each way in economy class / 12.5K Avios each way in business class on the shortest nonstop routes in the US (under 651 miles) or 9K Avios in economy class / 16.5K Avios in business class for routes of 651-1151 miles flown.
  • How to find awards: It is easiest to search via Qantas to see a calendar of availability. See more detail in this post: Regional first class starting at 12,500 points (Sweet Spot Spotlight)
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: Awards become expensive or nonrefundable to cancel close to departure, so this is not a good option for booking backup flights.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

Singapore KrisFlyer (for Alaska)

  • The short story: Singapore KrisFlyer has a zone-based chart with some great values for travel on Alaska Airlines, particularly within the Western US and to/from Canada.
  • Miles required: Varies form 8.5K-14K each way based on zone combination. See the zone-based chart and region definitions here. Note that Zone 2 includes all of Alaska's Canadian destinations (noted just as "Canada"), which means that itineraries between western states and Canada cost just 7.5K miles each way in economy class when awards are available.
  • How to find awards: Search for available Alaska Airlines award space at AA.com (note that Singapore can not book any legs on AA, but AA will show Alaska flights available to partners).
  • How to book awards: Alaska Awards can either be booked via phone or chat at the Singapore Airlines website. Note that booking via phone may be very difficult. Instead, see this post from Mainly Miles that explains in detail how to successfully book via chat.
  • Change and cancellation fees: $50 change fee, $75 redeposit fee for saver awards.
  • Key warnings: Singapore KrisFlyer can only book nonstop Alaska Airlines awards. Note that transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer are not instant. Transfers typically take 12-24 hours and Singapore does not hold award tickets.
  • Transfer from: AmexCitiChaseCapital OneMarriott

For American Airlines flights

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • The short story: American now has variable award pricing but sometimes runs web specials, both advertised and unadvertised, which can sometimes present solid value on its own flights.
  • Miles required: Varies from as low as 5K miles one way for economy web specials. Business class web specials start around 20K miles one way. Awards on Alaska Airlines within the contiguous US & Canada cost 12.5K each way in economy or 25K in Business/First. Awards on Alaska to the Caribbean / Mexico / Central America cost 17.5K each way in economy or 27.5K each way in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search AA.com
  • How to book awards: Book at AA.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: None for award tickets. Note that Web Specials can not be changed, but can be cancelled and redeposited without a fee.
  • Key warnings: Note that "web specials" can not be changed, but can be cancelled and redeposited for free. If transferring from Marriott, note that transfers may take 7 days or more in some instances. American offers award holds for 5 days.
  • Transfer from: Bilt Rewards (ends in June 2024), Marriott

British Airways Executive Club (for American Airlines or Alaska Airlines)

  • The short story: British Airways offers a distance-based award chart, so short direct flights on partners American Airlines or Alaska Airlines can sometimes be a great value. Also note that British Airways allows cancellation up to 24 hours in advance for no fee but forfeiting the taxes ($5.60 each way within the US), though they've been known to refund those with some cancellations.
  • Miles required: Varies based on distance. From 9K one-way in economy class / 16.5K in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at britishairways.com. Note that British Airways inexplicably periodically stops displaying AA availability. It's always best to search before transferring.
  • How to book awards: Book online at britishaiways.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: Officially $55, but when the taxes and fees are less British Airways gives the option of forfeiting the taxes instead ($5.60 each way in the US), which makes awards almost freely cancellable (some sometimes they refund the taxes anyway).
  • Key warnings: British Airways charges for each segment separately, so multi-segment trips can get expensive quickly. Furthermore, the British Airways site sometimes shows phantom award space for AA (see: Phantom menace: an award search time suck). You may want to double-check Qantas.com for availability before transferring to British Aiways Executive Club.
  • Transfer fromAmex, BiltCapital One, ChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

Iberia Plus (for American Airlines)

  • The short story: Iberia Plus offers a distance-based award chart. Unfortunately, their chart for American Airlines flights changed for the worse during 2021. It now matches the British Airways system both in terms of price and pricing by segment. However, Iberia does not allow any chances / cancellations / redeposits in American Airlines awards. You can't even pay a fee to get your Avios back. You're better off booking through British Airways.
  • Miles required: From 9K Avios each way.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space on American at iberia.com. Use the Advanced Avios Search tool. Search Alaska award space via AA.com.
  • How to book awards: Book online at iberia.com for American or over the phone for Alaska. Use the Advanced Avios Search tool for American.
  • Change and cancellation fees: Awards can not be changed or cancelled. There is no way to get your Avios back on partner bookings with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.
  • Key warnings: Most Iberia partner bookings, including those on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, are completely nonrefundable and can not be changed. Only book AA flights with Iberia if plans are certain. Iberia used to require round trip booking for partner flights, but you can now book American Airlines flights one-way.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Chase, Wells Fargo. Also transfer to BA and then to Iberia with: Capital One, Citi

Qantas Frequent Flyer (for American Airlines)

  • The short story: Qantas offers better pricing than traditional American Airlines or Alaska Airlines award prices on itineraries with a distance of 1200 miles or fewer each way and has no close-in booking fee. This could be especially good for those who need to connect on short itineraries as Qantas measures cumulative distance rather than pricing segments separately.
  • Miles required: 8,000 miles for itineraries covering a distance up to 600 miles or 12,000 miles for itineraries covering a distance up to 1200 miles. (See: Strengths of Qantas for AA redemptions). No fuel surcharges on American or Alaska.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at Qantas.com (you’ll need to create a free Qantas Frequent Flyer account). Note that for Alaska space you'll need to search AA.com.
  • How to book awards: Book online at Qantas.com for American Airlines. Call for Alaska.
  • Change and cancellation fees: 5,000 miles per passenger to change / 6,000 miles per passenger to cancel.
  • Key warnings: Avios, either through British Airways or Iberia, might be a better value if you have direct flights if you have access to points which transfer to Avios. However, for flights with connections, Qantas can be a better deal.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi, Capital One, Marriott

Qatar Airways Avios (for American Airlines)

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which can be a decent value for economy class or a standout value for first class in some instances.
  • Miles required: From 6K Avios each way in economy class / 12.5K Avios each way in business class on the shortest nonstop routes in the US (under 651 miles) or 9K Avios in economy class / 16.5K Avios in business class for routes of 651-1151 miles flown.
  • How to find awards: It is easiest to search via Qantas to see a calendar of availability. See more detail in this post: Regional first class starting at 12,500 points (Sweet Spot Spotlight)
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: Awards become expensive or nonrefundable to cancel close to departure, so this is not a good option for booking backup flights.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

For Delta flights

Aeromexico (for Delta)

  • The short story: Aeromexico sometimes charges far fewer miles for Delta flights than Delta charges its own members and Aeromexico has access to more availability than other partners.
  • Miles required: Highly variable.
  • How to find awards: Search at Aeromexico.com. You do not need to log in to search.
  • How to book awards: Book online at Aeromexico.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: $88 for international awards (presumably awards outside of Mexico)
  • Key warnings: Aeomexico is not known for great customer service, so adjust expectations in the case of irregular operations.
  • Transfer fromAmex Membership RewardsCapital OneMarriott

Air France / KLM Flying Blue (for Delta)

  • The short story: Air France sometimes charges far fewer miles for Delta flights than Delta charges its own members.
  • Miles required: Variable, but starting around 10.5K one-way in economy, or 28K one-way in business class.
  • How to find awards: Use the Virgin Atlantic 5 week award search to find availability (see this post for details). Next, confirm your findings at AirFrance.us (you’ll need to create a free Flying Blue frequent flyer account to search)
  • How to book awards: Book online at AirFrance.com. Can also book via phone or app when the website returns errors.
  • Key warnings: Air France's website is buggy and will often return errors when trying to complete a booking. If that happens, try calling. Note also that for very short-distance flights, you may be able to save some miles by booking via Virgin Atlantic.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Marriott Bonvoy, Wells Fargo.

Delta SkyMiles

  • The short story: Delta has frequent flash sales where it is sometimes possible to get solid value. Sometimes, though not always, Delta offers better award pricing on round trip itineraries. This can make for a great deal in some circumstances.
  • Miles required: Varies.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at Delta.com.
  • How to book awards: Book online at Delta.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: None for award tickets originating in North America in Main Cabin or above. Note that fees are not waived for Basic Economy.
  • Key warnings: Delta pricing can be very unpredictable and vary wildly. Transfers from Membership Rewards incur a small excise tax that is not charged when transferring to foreign partners.
  • Transfer from: Amex

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (for Delta)

  • The short story: In some instances, Virgin Atlantic offers Delta flights for fewer miles than Delta would charge for the same itineraries.
  • Miles required: Virgin has a distance-based award chart for domestic US travel on Delta that ranges from 7,500 miles (for flights up to 500 miles in distance flown) to 27,500 miles (up to 5,000 miles flown, which would cover New York to Honolulu). Taxes & fees are just $5.60 on domestic flights. See the full award chart here.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at VirginAtlantic.com
  • How to book awards: Book online at VirginAtlantic.com.  See: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles.
  • Key warnings: Virgin Atlantic charges each segment separately, so they are not a good choice for connecting itineraries.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Capital One, CitiChaseMarriott, Bilt

For JetBlue flights

JetBlue TrueBlue

  • The short story: JetBlue TrueBlue points are typically only worth about 1.43c towards the cost of a flight (See: What are JetBlue TrueBlue points worth?), but in some instances it may be possible to do a bit better.
  • Miles required: Varies by route but can be less than other options when cash prices are low.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at JetBlue.com.
  • How to book awards: Book online at JetBlue.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: None for award tickets except for Blue Basic. For those Blue Basic fares, changes are $100 on itineraries in the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or $200 for other routes.
  • Key warnings: Note that transfers from Membership Rewards cost a small excise fee. Transfers are free from other transferable currencies.
  • Transfer from: AmexCitiChaseCapital OneMarriott

Qatar Airways Avios (for JetBlue economy class)

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on JetBlue, which can be a decent value for economy class in some instances.
  • Miles required: From 8.5K for the shortest domestic flights to 25K in economy class on transcontinental flights.
  • How to find awards: You search for space via QatarAirways.com, but to see a calendar of availability, you'll need to find "P" class space for business class awards. You can find this via a paid tool like ExpertFlyer or with advanced routing codes via ITA Matrix.
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: The Qatar Airways website sometimes can not find major airports. We hope this is a temporary glitch.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

Qatar Airways Avios (for JetBlue business class)

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on JetBlue, which can be an OK value for Mint class in situations where cash prices are high.
  • Miles required: 74K for a transcontinental Mint class award.
  • How to find awards: You search for space via QatarAirways.com, but to see a calendar of availability, you'll need to find "I" class space for business class awards. You can find this via a paid tool like ExpertFlyer or with advanced routing codes via ITA Matrix. See more detail in this post.
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: The Qatar Airways website sometimes can not find major airports. We hope this is a temporary glitch.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

For Southwest flights

Southwest Rapid Rewards

  • The short story: Southwest points are typically only worth about 1.5c towards the cost of a flight, but award bookings are totally flexible since they can be changed or canceled with no fee up until about 10 minutes before departure.
  • Miles required: Varies by route but can be less than other options when cash prices are low and can be a standout value for Companion Pass holders.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at Southwest.com
  • How to book awards: Book online at Southwest.com
  • Change / cancellation fees: None. Note that Wanna Get Away Plus fares or higher are also eligible for a free same-day change.
  • Key warnings: Keep in mind that if you pay for Early Bird Check In and then later cancel or change your flight, you will lose the benefit without a refund.
  • Transfer fromChase

For United flights

Air Canada Aeroplan (for United)

  • The short story: Aeroplan offers decent pricing for very short awards within the US and between the US and Canada, though the new distance-based chart means that longer itineraries are less of a deal.
  • Miles required: From 6K to 22.5K miles each way in economy class or 15K to 35K miles each way in business class based on distance (see more info here).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at AirCanada.com (you’ll need to create a free Aeroplan frequent flyer account to search)
  • How to book awards: Book online at AirCanada.com. Can also book via phone. Lap infants must be added to your reservation over the phone.
  • Change and cancellation fees: Changes cost "$100" for "Lowest" fare awards; there's no fee to change Flex or Latitude awards. Cancellations cost $150 for most standard awards or $75 for Flex economy if done online at AirCanada.com (or $175 online for most awards / $125 for Flex economy via a call center). Other flex awards are free to change or cancel.
  • Key warnings: Cancellation fees can be high on "standard" awards. Hold times to speak with a phone agent can be very long.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Marriott

Avianca LifeMiles (for United)

  • The short story: Avianca LifeMiles offers one-ways on United within a single "zone" at excellent prices. Some flights price even less than the "official" rates.
  • Miles required: As per the old award chart, the US is split into 3 zones. Within a single zone, awards typically cost 7.5K one-way in economy class or 10K one-way in business class. Between Zone 1 (most of the East Coast) and Zone 2 (most of the states apart from the far west) is 10K one-way in economy or 15K in business class. Note that some routes price below the chart for no clear reason. Note also that mixed-cabin itineraries can price favorably in some instances. See: Avianca LifeMiles' awesome mixed-cabin award pricing. First class for less.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at LifeMiles.com (you’ll need to create a free Avianca LifeMiles frequent flyer account)
  • How to book awards: Book online at LifeMiles.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: Theoretically $50 within a region, though flights between regions can cost $200 to cancel.
  • Key warnings: Availability at LifeMiles.com does not always match what you’ll find at United.com. Phone agents generally do not see better availability than what is shown at LifeMiles.com. Always check the LifeMiles site before transferring points.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Citi, Capital One, Marriott

Singapore KrisFlyer (for United)

  • The short story: Singapore KrisFlyer charges the same 12.5K miles each way in economy class both within the US and between the US and Canada. While not the best deal in all situations, Singapore miles are easy to accumulate since they are partners with all of the major transferable points.
  • Miles required: 12.5K miles each way in economy class (business class at 34.5K each way is not competitive with the best rates from other programs)
  • How to find awards: Search for available United Airlines space at United.com (Note: Do not log in — logging in may show you expanded availability based on your credit card or elite status that is not available for partner bookings) or SingaporeAir.com (See: Book United flights online with Singapore miles– but note that business class prices have increased since that post was written).
  • How to book awards: Book online at SingaporeAir.com or over the phone with Singapore KrisFlyer.
  • Change and cancellation fees: $50 change fee, $75 redeposit fee for saver awards.
  • Key warnings: Singapore allows a maximum connection time of 4 hours on a domestic itinerary and will not allow a stopover on a one-way domestic award. Be aware that United.com will show availability for flights with longer/overnight connections that are not available with Singapore KrisFlyer miles, so be sure to double check availability at SingaporeAir.com or with a phone agent before booking. Also note that transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer are not instant. Transfers typically take 12-24 hours (from all major transferable currencies) and Singapore does not hold award tickets.
  • Transfer from: AmexCitiChaseCapital OneMarriott

Turkish Miles & Smiles (for United Airlines)

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible value on domestic Star Alliance flights. This makes Turkish the absolute cheapest way to book flights within the US on United -- including to Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Miles required: 10K miles each way in economy class or 15K miles each way in business class domestically on United within the US or domestically on Air Canada within Canada (can include connections for the same price). For North American international flights (e.g. US to Canada or Mexico), Turkish is no longer a good value at 30K each way in economy class.
  • How to find awards: Search United.com and look for "Saver Awards". You can also try searching via the Turkish Airlines website, but it does not always show full availability.
  • How to book awards: Try booking at TurkishAirlines.com using the Star Alliance search tool (click "Award ticket" on the home page, then select the Star Alliance tool after logging in). If all else fails, try booking via email. See our guide for booking United flights with Turkish for more detail.
  • Change and cancellation fees: The fee to change or cancel is $70 per passenger, though I've been unsuccessful in finding agents who know how to change a partner award. Thus cancelling for $70 is your best bet.
  • Key warnings: Turkish phone agents often can't see availability on United metal. You may just have to try again with a different agent or try emailing many different ticket offixes. Irregular operations can cause a huge headache in getting in touch with Turkish to get your flight fixed. Booking via Turkish is not for the faint of heart (or those who can not drop back 10 yards and punt when things go sideways).
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Citi, Capital One

United MileagePlus

  • The short story: United now offers variable award pricing. That makes for some opportunities to pick up flights from as few as 5,000 miles one way. This can be useful if looking to leverage the Excursionist Perk.
  • Miles required: Varies by route but some itineraries can be just 5,000 miles one way. See: Finding United MileagePlus 5K awards.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at United.com
  • How to book awards: Book online at United.com.
  • Change and cancellation fees: There are no fees to change or cancel award tickets
  • Key warnings: When one-way prices are higher than 7,500 miles in economy class or 12,500 miles in business class, you may be better off booking with Turkish if you have Citi points and can stomach the challenges that Turkish presents.
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Chase, Marriott

How to get the miles

The following chart shows the available transferable points programs for each of the above airline frequent flyer programs:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioChase Transfer RatioCiti Transfer RatioMarriott Transfer RatioCapital One Transfer RatioBrex Transfer Ratio
Aer Lingus Avios1 to 11 to 11 to 1 via Qatar, BA60K to 25K1 to 1 via BA
Air Canada Aeroplan1 to 11 to 160K to 25K1 to 1
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 11 to 11 to 160K to 25K1 to 11,670 to 1K
Alaska MileagePlan60K to 25K
American AAdvantage3K to 1K
Avianca LifeMiles1 to 11 to 13K to 1K1 to 11,670 to 1K
British Airways Avios1 to 11 to 11 to 1 via Qatar60K to 25K1 to 1
Delta SkyMiles1 to 1 plus excise tax3K to 1K
Iberia Avios1 to 11 to 11 to 1 via Qatar, BA60K to 25K1 to 1 via BA
JetBlue250 to 200 plus excise tax1 to 11 to 160K to 12.5K
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 11 to 160K to 25K1 to 11,670 to 1K
Qatar Privilege Club Avios1 to 11 to 1 via BA1 to 160K to 25K1 to 1 via BA
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 11 to 11 to 160K to 25K1 to 11,670 to 1K
Southwest Rapid Rewards1 to 160K to 25K
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1 to 160K to 25K1 to 1
United MileagePlus1 to 160K to 30K
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 11 to 11 to 160K to 25K1 to 1
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27 Comments
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John Power

I have had terrific luck using Air Canada for flights to Europe and Africa. However, I cannot seem to get ANY results when I query for a domestic round trip ticket using Aeroplan miles. No matter what date I enter I get “flight not found” meaning no flights available, even for one person ineconomy. Any workarounds?

Vince

Just a note related to this week’s FM on the Air and using bank portals for booking domestic flights. I have done this frequently with Chase and with Citi for booking Alaska flights, with the stated advantages: good point value (1.5 cpp UR, 1.25 for Cit [while that was still live w the Premier], and good miles earning, and ultimately elite status, on the back end with Alaska. Historically this has worked out well for me if I had to make any changes or cancellations; when making these bookings, there is the portal confirmation # and the separate Alaska confirmation #. It is very easy to add the trip to my profile on Alaska’s site, and then Alaska sees it as any other paid fare. All cancellations (or changes that resulted in a cheaper fare) would go right into the Alaska wallet. I don’t recall any snafus with this over time. Never had to deal with the bank portal to manage these. This was my experience pre COVID as well. The last I did this was sometime in 2021.

Vince

Book American flights online at britishaiways.com or Alaska flights over the phone at 1 800 452 1201.” I am finding Alaska flights on britishairways.com, no need to call, unless that refers to other potential availability not seen on the site?

FlyerDad

Nick, maybe I missed it or you are just covering U.S. based airlines, but in many instances the best option is to book Air Canada flights using LifeMiles. LM came out with significantly better, distance-based pricing to Canada recently. With the current transfer bonus from Capital One to LM (admittedly, can’t always count on that), it’s particularly attractive.

Preacher

Westjet flights are bookable with Delta miles. They are often your best bet for flights within Canada and sometimes between Canada and the U.S. too.

Barry

I would add that it’s sometimes worth while to check the cash prices of flights. I’ve used my URs to book some really cheap flights through the Chase travel portal.

Neil

Excellent resource. Only suggestion I’d add is mention whether there is a deadline to change/cancel. Unless something has recently changed my recollection is BA tickets need to be canceled at least 24 hours before flight time. Not sure if other programs have something similar.

Mike Z

One thing to be careful of is using Singapore Krisflyer miles on United flights. For over a year now if the one way segment includes a connection it is erroneously charging double the price (25k versus 12.5k). It doesn’t make sense why they don’t fix it since they are aware of the bug.

Mike Z

That’s correct. I fly from SAN to IAD occasionally and last October is when I first encountered it when trying to use KrisFlyer miles that were expiring. When I called Singapore Airlines the rep wasn’t aware of the issue and worked with the technical team on the backend to get it corrected while on the phone and was able to then book for 12.5k versus 25k. I tried booking again in January and same issue. My return flight is non-stop so that is not an issue, but on the way there it’s typically a layover of less than two hours. This time it was nearly impossible to get ahold of someone at customer service. When I did after several hours they again were not aware of the issue and had to log a ticket. They promised someone would get back to me within 24-72 hours, but no one ever did. I called back again and after many hours trying to get through the rep also was not aware of the issue and another ticket was logged with a promised call back within three days. Again never received a call and never got the pricing corrected. I ended up just booking the first segment on American Airlines so I didn’t have to pay double the price. Hopefully they get it fixed soon as it’s very frustrating and I feel bad for those not aware of the error and book anyway.

Mike Z

I think I only called the USA number in this case. I just left the phone on hold while I was doing other work so wasn’t a huge inconvenience. However, what you are saying makes sense and is good advice. I have done that before with other airlines, but not with Singapore Airlines and will try that in the future as I’ll probably have another flight I’ll be booking not too long from now. In fact I was having another issue around the same time with trying to cancel an Alaska Airlines flight booked with British Airways Avios. Similar issue in that I couldn’t get ahold of anyone at British Airways. Even worse a lot of times after exactly one hour on hold the phone call will just disconnect. That happened multiple times when trying to initially book the flight and also when trying to cancel and I had to keep calling back (I had issues that couldn’t be done online). I did try to call their Los Angeles number and England number, but had no luck with either option. I did finally get that issue resolved after someone did pick up eventually.

BRONKO

Forgive me if I missed this in the body of this excellent post….but are your references to Business Class (booking United via partner) really meaning Domestic F/C?

Thank you in advance for your time, this post and hopefully a response.

George

I would like to know the answer to this question too.

brandon

Great guide! Is it still possible to book AS with KE miles?

jeph36

Overall looks like a useful guide to capture it all in one place. We have not flown anywhere as a family-of-6 since 2019, but might get back into it this year or at latest next year.

There are a few airlines listed in the text that did not make it into the table: Aeromexico, BA, IB, JetBlue. I think that is all of them, but I did not do a detailed check.

Peter

Thanks Nick. Is VS best option for transcontinental flights on Delta One business (i.e. for comparison, thinking EY for AA)?

Bryan

Any thoughts about adding Air Canada flights to this list – where are the sweet spots on that?

Captain Greg

These seem to mostly be for flexible, non-holiday flights. Are there any points tricks during busy times, or do you basically just have to book with more points on the actual airline? If there’s more to it, it could be an interesting article (and I apologize if it’s been written and I haven’t found it) to write about booking flights with points over the holidays.

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